#124: FMCG vs Pharma, Omnichannel and Central Planning

Tariq Farooq is the Senior Vice President Global Supply Chain at Sanofi, leading the operations globally for a diverse 35 billion USD pharma and biotech business.

Previously, he spent 19 years at P&G in various roles and business units and worked for seven years at Danone as VP Global Manufacturing and EMEA Operations.

Tariq has experience across all facets of Operations and Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Procurement and Engineering. And has done significant transformation projects at regional and global scale.

Listen to the full discussion here:



Connect with the Guest:

Tariq Farooq: LinkedIn

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Why Tariq switched industries from FMCG to healthcare (and also main differences between them)
  • How online healthcare and changing the rules of the game
  • Omnichannel developments at Sanofi and what needed to change
  • How Tariq’s team centralized their planning: the good as well as the bad
  • Future SCM skills needed

Show notes:

  • [0:44]  How did you end up in the supply chain in the first place and how did you make that transition from FMCG to healthcare?
  • [1:19] I studied engineering and had the privilege of starting my career with Procter and Gamble and spent 19 years with them in a variety of different operations roles in supply chain manufacturing.
  • [7:47] With people or patients buying from home doing telemedicine, we spoke a little bit in preparation for this about omnichannel. How has Sanofi developed strategies around that?
  • [12:39] So when I say omnichannel, for us, it really  means going beyond shipping to hospitals, distributors, wholesalers or even to pharmacies, but how do we deliver to people in their homes and we in Sanofi and particularly in the supply chain, are figuring out how to service that need, and to do it better and better, while still trying to be as efficient as you can be.
  • [14:30] What did you have to shift right to be a fast agile move because this adaptation to omnichannel is not easy to do and you can’t do it overnight. So I’m curious to see if there were one or two elements that made this more successful for you?
  • [17:28] I think the COVID crisis has enabled all of us to be much more linked to our purpose in each of our companies to do things faster and then the challenge becomes how do you make that sustainable, efficient and scalable as you move ahead.
  • [17:47] I know you had a fairly somewhat different approach to planning into working on your centralized planning function. Tell us a little bit about that.
  • [21:11] What are the specifics of the change management that you managed to put in place to make it successful?
  • [21:26] I think anyone who’s done any kind of digital program will probably say the same thing that in the end only 15% to 20-30% of your success is down to the tool, the bulk of the success is down to the quality of the data and the cleansing, and the quality of the engagement, or change management.
  • [28:17] How do you see the type of capabilities and hard and soft skills that will be most needed for executives in the future? 
  • [32:45] So I think if there were three, I would say it’s skills and capabilities to not just implement but also leverage and continually improve on digital; it’s our ability to collaborate and therefore drive innovation, small and big; and it’s our leadership skills and capabilities to be able to effectively operate in this new hybrid kind of world that we now live in.
  • [33:22] What’s one motto, piece of advice, quote or principle that has been most helpful for you in your career?
  • [34:31] I think if you focus on serving the people that you’re supposed to be serving, do your best at that and continue to think about how to make a difference, then that’s probably the best advice I would give to my teams internally and that certainly if I think about something that’s helped me in over my 32 years now of working in operations and supply chain, that probably would be it.

Quotes from the Episode:

Soundbite from the Episode:


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#122: Ivanka Janssen, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Philips

#123: Michael Corbo, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Colgate-Palmolive




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